Saturday, February 11, 2012

Is innovation really the answer to what ails us right now?

Ten years ago it was "the new, new thing". Now innovation is the trump card. There is lots of talk about it in any case. It's almost as if we are afraid that if we don't innovate the earth might stop still. There is even a wealthy entrepreneur who believes and puts his money behind the idea that a person might spend his or her time more effectively by skipping college and going straight to the task of doing the ever newer thing.

I am not saying innovation is bad. What I am saying is that when there is too much innovation, i.e. one innovation following the other as if there were no tomorrow, we forget that putting layer upon layer of innovation doesn't allow an important innovation to mature.

Some of the most vital stuff might get buried under things that seem flashy and "so much fun" right now as in the current social media frenzy.

People hanker after the great discoveries starting in the renaissance and passing into the 19th and 20th centuries, and what mankind altering discoveries they really were!

Time went slower then, however. And there always was time in between to administer and solidify in between discoveries so that something new could be built onto that for the greater good.

What we have now though is the innovation for innovation's sake, for the sake of the fad. It's for the sake of making money and not for the improvement of mankind and humanity. Is it really the best use of time to do facebook rather than to meet a flesh-and-blood person for tea? Is it really important to tweet when it would be so much more interesting to go back to making something simple as baking bread from scratch with your own starter and with only flour, water, salt and oil? For me that experience was truly novel. And yet, I did not innovate.

Meanwhile, as the children go to their games, they forget to play outdoors and explore what kids have explored since time immemorial. They don't know one bird from the other. They get obese from sitting, and they have forgotten what an apple tastes like that has just fallen off the tree. The old stuff needs tending. Just as "where roses are tended no thistles can bloom" holds true, innovation, too, needs time to settle and find its real place.


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